In 2013, 70% Of Chevy Volt Buyers Were New To General Motors – Majority Were Toyota Prius Owners

3 years ago by Eric Loveday 37

Guess We'll Trade In The Prius For This Chevy Volt

Guess We’ll Trade In The Prius For This Chevy Volt

Wonder How Many Prius Plug-In Owners Traded In For a Volt?

Wonder How Many Prius Plug-In Owners Traded In For a Volt?

“The Volt continues to draw buyers from non-General Motors’ products. In the 2013 calendar year, nearly seven of 10 new Volt buyers traded in a non-GM vehicle, the majority of which were Toyota Priuses.”

Stated General Motors in a recent press release.

If the Volt is indeed so successful at conquest sales, then why not push it more in terms of marketing?

GM perplexes us.

On one hand, GM touts the Volt’s amazing achievements, yet on the flip side General Motors claims this of the Volt: “It’s not a mass-market vehicle.”  What gives?

Conquest sales are what all automakers are after.  The Volt is likely GM’s leader in conquest sales, so it’s time to get behind this vehicle GM, especially since it’s so damn spectacular:

Volt owners are driving more than 63 percent of their overall miles in electric vehicle mode, collectively logging more than 500 million gas-free miles since the Volt’s retail debut in 2010. That has saved more than 25 million gallons of gasoline.

While the driving range in EV mode can be affected by temperature, driving technique and terrain, the ease with which Volt drivers are avoiding gasoline use demonstrates the Volt’s suitability for almost any lifestyle.

Volt owners who charge regularly typically drive more than 970 miles between fill-ups and visit the gas station less than once a month.

The Volt has received multiple customer satisfaction awards from leading third-parties. According to a recent leading independent satisfaction survey, the Volt is the highest-rated compact car under $55,000. Owners are showing their satisfaction as well. For the past three years, a leading customer publication has reported survey results showing more than 90 percent of Volt owners said they would definitely buy a Volt again.

Instead of putting that in a press release, make the buying public aware of it.  Turn the marketing knob to 11.  The Volt will sell in volume.

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37 responses to "In 2013, 70% Of Chevy Volt Buyers Were New To General Motors – Majority Were Toyota Prius Owners"

  1. DaveMart says:

    ‘On one hand, GM touts the Volt’s amazing achievements, yet on the flip side General Motors claims this of the Volt: “It’s not a mass-market vehicle.” What gives?’

    They are not finding it profitable enough, and GM focusses usually on the next quarter, with only intermittent attempts by part of the organisation or groups of individuals to achieve a strategic plan.

    That is inherent in the big three auto companies in the US, with CEOs earning multiples of those in other countries including large bonuses based on profits, and with golden parachutes for when they have driven them into the ditch.

    Expect ‘Bail out 2, the movie’ coming to your screens in due course.

    1. TomArt says:

      Yep – well, once the economy stumbles again, then yeah, they’ll be crying the blues again…

    2. prsist says:

      Maybe someone could refresh my memory…Isn’t this the same GM that quashed the EV1? Where IS their commitment?

      1. Charlie says:

        I think the commitment must be there, because they just announced a half-billion dollar investment in new manufacturing capacity and development of the Volt 2.0 “plus two other EV models”. You don’t go to the board to get approval for such a program without presenting a convincing business plan.

    3. william edwards says:

      I remain unconvinced that GM wants to sell the current generation in higher volumes. Doing so would require sending Tony Soprano’s crew to talk some sense into their dealer network…

  2. Lou Grinzo says:

    Golly, imagine how well the Volt could do if both GM and their dealers made a serious push to educate the public about it.

    The level of misunderstanding and plain old ignorance among the general public (i.e. not the plug heads, like us) re:the Volt is almost as high as it is about the Leaf. Many people I’ve talked to about electric cars think the Volt is either non-plug-in hybrid, or that you must recharge it before you can drive it.

    Right now, the Volt is quickly shaping up as an enormous missed opportunity. GM and the dealers still have time to reverse course, but it will take a major brain transplant on both parties to make that happen.

    1. ClarksonCote says:

      I agree. I think that more advertising is a waste of money though until you can get the dealers educated and behind the car.

      Maybe all will come together in perfect harmony with the 2016 Volt release. “Sunshine, lollipops and, rainbows everywhere…”

      1. TomArt says:

        Yet another reason why Tesla would not want to deal with dealers – not much control over the people who are actually selling your product and that you rely on for business.

        1. John says:

          Tom, good point regarding dealers. But Tesla does have an advantage- ALL their products are EV related, so ignorance wouldn’t be as big of a problem for their product. But I do agree- dealers are lazy idiots who’d likely rather play X-Box than do basic research on the vehicles they sell. I just bought my used Volt and the dealer came right out and admitted he didn’t know anything about the car. To which I responded, “I know…”

  3. Brian says:

    The majority were Prius owners. So why are they targeting ads against the Leaf? The Volt can take on the Prius if GM had the brains to do so. It boggles my mind.

    1. koz says:

      The Prius and many others that owners can be drawn from. The Leaf is the last vehicle that the Volt should be targeting. Most of those prospective buyers already know about the Volt and have chosen against it for good reason or a misunderstanding of what the real world range actually is and will be later on with the Leaf. The Volt is getting their fare share of buyers coming out of the Leaf too. It is the best selling tool for the Volt for customers that need more than 50 miles of range.

  4. J says:

    The people buying a Volt want an electric car. Chevy is bringing these people in because they currently offer something no one else does; decent AER and an on board backup option.
    Current Prius drivers looking to make the next step in gas reduction have to take the full leap of faith to BEV or have deeper pockets to reach up to the Tesla or I3.
    Chevy deserves a lot of credit for filling a void that exists but they need to innovate if they want to retain these new buyers because I think most of them would not hesitate to jump ship tomorrow if someone else offered an EREV with 60 mile AER and 50 mpg.

  5. Nelson says:

    GM should make an ad where an apartment dweller and his young son go to buy a Volt.

    Son: Dad why are you buying this car? It’s a plug-in and we don’t have anywhere to plug it in.
    Dad: It gets good mileage and the lot where I park at every morning, before I hop on my train to work, has 4 free charging stations not being used.
    Son: Your smart dad.

    NPNS! SBF!
    Volt#671

    1. ClarksonCote says:

      Dad: That’s “You’re smart Dad” not “Your smart dad”
      Son: I was quoting you speaking as me referring to my smart dad.
      Dad: Well then carry on, son.
      🙂

    2. sven says:

      That ad would create an unrealistic expectation that an apartment dweller would always be able to charge for free or find an unused public charger at the train station each morning. If just four people who also use that same parking lot decide to buy EVs, dad is screwed.

      1. Francisco says:

        Yeah, ads never create unrealistic expectations…

      2. gxh says:

        If all the chargers are in use Dad can park anywhere. That’s the best thing about the Volt, no range/charger anxiety.

        Once those 4 chargers are in constant use they will install more.

  6. Anderlan says:

    You really do need a big cell pipeline to support volume. It’s a big investment. A big ‘risk’. Only Tesla right now has the cojones to go really big with that gamble. Others may be too, but they’re being secretive.

    1. TomArt says:

      Good point – it might have to do with cell supply constraints. That would make sense – certainly, there are different ways of going about it – either point out the really good stuff, but not make a big deal out of it in order to reign in demand (GM), or go all-out with the marketing and have multi-month backlogs (Tesla)…hmmm…

    2. liberty says:

      I believe that lg is investing to make a big increase in plug-in sales for cars like the volt.

      We do have politics and tax credits going on. A year before a major change is not a good time to put a lot of money into advertisement, but is a good time to train dealers. I don’t think gm cares how many 2015 volts they sell, they want a hit with the 2016 gen II volt. The more gen Is they sell, the further they go into that 200,000 tax credit number. Let’s hope they do something big in the next generation.

    3. John says:

      Don’t forget the fact that Tesla has come out with their own J1772 adapter, so they can piggy-back off the commitment of the mainstream EV crowd, which only reduces their own “Cojone Factor.”

  7. GeorgeS says:

    “They don’t make any money on the car”

    This profound statement is uttered by every arm chair EV know it all.

    Then they run out and buy a Silverado pick up truck.

    The fact that the company doesn’t make a big profit on it is exactly the reason why you SHOULD buy it.

    The Volt is the most bang for the buck out there.

    1. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

      Marginal cost to assemble a Volt is less than MSRP, so they should be selling more if they want to pay off the R&D and tooling costs.

      1. pjwood says:

        Still, “don’t sell a Volt, if you can sell a Cruze.”

        Bigger profits, not just profits.

        1. Dan says:

          Excluding R&D costs (which are already sunk), I would be shocked if the Volt made less profit/sale than the Cruze… for GM.

          For the dealers, it’s a different story.

          The dealers don’t want to undergo all the new training for their salespeople and technicians. They would prefer to sell plain old Cruzes, where the “training” consists of a piece of paper with HP/MPG/MSRP written on it.

  8. Breezy says:

    I was one of those 2013 conquest sales. Just remember GM, easy come, easy go. 🙂

  9. Evil Attorney says:

    These numbers are not shocking, since the Prius to Volt transition is almost a no-brainer. But I wonder what the actual number of conquest buyers looks like for all GM models. While 70% looks impressive, a much lower percentage on one of their more popular model might still generate a higher number of conquests.

    1. TomArt says:

      By raw numbers? Certainly. Still, being able to take approx. 70% of your new sales away from your competitor’s best-selling, iconic hybrid of the 21st century is impressive.

  10. Dave-Phoenix says:

    The only conceivable explanation for GM’s behavior is that the GM “is” actually losing money selling the Volt.

    We can only hope that this changes with the GEN II Volt, and GM can find a way to sell the Volt at a profit.

  11. Spec9 says:

    The Volt is probably one of the few ‘Conquest’ cars that GM has.

    It is a shame about the ELR though . . . that was a really bad idea.

    1. John says:

      The ELR could’ve been cool if it could’ve gotten more miles per charge than a 1st gen Leaf… For that kinda price, it better break the century mark at least..

  12. alan says:

    I think the real problem here is supply and demand unfortunately they don’t seem to have a sufficient supply
    If they engage in a marketing endeavor they won’t be able to meet the demand which would be much worse for GM

  13. Charlie says:

    I bought a ’14 Volt, my first Chevy after having multiple VWs, Porsche, Saab, Mustang, F-150. The Volt is one of my favorites. Great car, full of innovation and technology.

  14. James says:

    We traded a Honda Fit for ours. I’ve always hated the look of American cars, and while I don’t love the look of the Volt, I do appreciate the accomplishment. But will I buy another Chevy? Doubtful.

    The Volt will be the last gas burning car we ever buy, so that means either a Tesla III or some mystery car that hasn’t been announced yet that has a 200-mile range and QC capability.

  15. Jamey Wagner says:

    My Volt salesman was considered the dealer’s “EV expert” and knew way less than I did about the car. He made no mention of the Federal or State funding or how to obtain it and no mention of how to get access to the carpool/HOV lane sticker. Unwilling to negotiate price below the Chevy website until I brought in a lease-quote from another dealer that was thousands less over the lease period.

    My wife is leasing a Volt with 15,000 miles per year and zero down and $300/month including taxes. I wanted her to get a Nissan Leaf and she wanted no range anxiety and went with the Volt…

    My wife loves her Volt…She loves the quietness of all electric operation and single speed transmission and likes running on all electric power for up to 50 miles per charge (35-40 miles is the average).

    I have heard that Toyota and Honda are both banking on Hydrogen Fuel Cells rather than Battery electric vehicles

    We like our electric car and I wish they were more affordable as the driving experience of a car with so few moving parts is unequalled.

  16. Thomas J. Thias says:

    So Volkswagen finaly steps into the surging Global Electric Fueled Vehicle Industry Market with the e-Gulf and e-Up!

    In the spirit of welcome by those of us now deeply attatched to our Modern Era, 1st Wave Ev’s ( #EVs1stWave )such as the Chevy Volt Extended Range Electric Vehicle and its global variants, Nissan Leaf BEV’s, Tesla Roadster BEV, Mitsubishi i Mi-EVs; the late but returning Fisker Karma and the passed Coda, we have welcomed and welcome 2nd Wave EV’s ( #EV2ndWave )such as these:

    VW eGolf BEV
    VW eUP BEV
    BMW i3 BEV/R-ex
    BMW i8 PHEV
    Tesla Model S
    Mercedes Benz B-Class ED BEV
    Kia Soul BEV
    Poesche S E-Hybrid PEV
    Porsche Cyanne S E-Hybrid
    Nissan e-NV200
    Cadillac ELR ERELC
    Chevy Spark BEV
    Fiat 500e BEV
    Ford Fusion EnergiPHEV
    Ford C-Max Energi PHEV
    Ford Focus Bev
    Renault ZOE BEV
    Smart ED BEV
    Volvo XC90
    Via Motors VTrux RE-EV and Variants

    Can’t wait for 3rd Wave EVs!

    OEM’s- Sorry if I missed yours!

    With this kind of a global Electric Fueled Vehicle product push GM IS about to come out swinging!

    See you at NAIAS2014 ( @NAIASDetroit )

    Best-

    Thomas J. Thias

    517-749-0532

    Twitter.com/AmazingChevVolt